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Search is on for ways to increase HE for Syrian refugees

By Allan Goodman

The crisis in Syria, now entering its sixth year, presents a challenge to the future of Syria that is at once broader, more intense and more lasting than the previous academic emergencies. What began as a rapid response effort to offer emergency scholarships to individual students, through the Institute of International Education or IIE’s Syria Consortium for Higher Education in Crisis, and fellowships to professors who faced particular dangers, through IIE's Scholar Rescue Fund, has grown to a systemic need to find a way to preserve the knowledge base of the professoriate and avoid creating a lost generation of young people without access to education.

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Syrian professor’s plea: make us part of the solution

By Ammar Al-Ibrahim

IIE-SRF Scholar Ammar Al-Ibrahim of Syria wrote an eloquent call for the international community to provide Syrian academics who have been exiled from their home country with an opportunity to educate Syrian refugee students and contribute research towards mitigating the effects of the crisis. Pointing to the hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrian students who cannot finish their higher education due to the war in Syria, he noted that student refugees often have difficulty assimilating into local school systems, arguing that “A Syrian professor has extensive experience in the curricula and teaching methods that Syrian students are used to.” Moreover, according to Dr. Al-Ibrahim, these professors are “more able to understand the psychological and living conditions facing Syrian students, because [they are] usually living in the same conditions.” Dr. Al-Ibrahim is an agricultural economist who is currently undertaking his IIE-SRF fellowship at Cukarova University in Turkey.  

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How can universities respond to the refugee crisis?

By Brendan O'Malley

University World News looks at the role of higher education in the refugee crisis. 

"Many university leaders are in no doubt that this is one of the grand challenges of our time. But what is the role of higher education in responding to this crisis?

The issue matters because so little attention is paid to – and still less aid spent on – the role of education in humanitarian situations. A large proportion of the world’s refugees are stuck in indefinite limbo in host countries that deny them the right to work outside of the camps and where, for young people of university age, there is little opportunity of higher education."

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Syria’s academics, caught ‘between a hammer and a hard place’

By Barbara Crossette

An interview with an IIE-SRF Syrian scholar about his ordeal in Syria and getting to the United States. “'The Syrian regime and the opposition show the same lack of regard for human rights and international law,' said the professor, an author and reviewer of legal books, adding that the pressures on scholars — 'economic, social, psychological' — are intense. Among the victims of indiscriminate and sometimes targeted shelling of campuses are students who in another era, under different circumstances, would have been considered the builders of the country’s future."

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IIE, Finland partner to offer safe harbor to professors

By Caitlin Emma

Politico features the IIE-CIMO partnership in their Morning Education roundup. "'Universities benefit because they save somebody’s life, they get usually a distinguished scientist or humanist, and the students get a double benefit – they get taught or work in a lab with somebody who is world known, but they also learn something about where the scholar comes,' said Allan Goodman, president and CEO of IIE."

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New Research Voices publishes inaugural issue featuring IIE-SRF scholars

New Research Voices (NRV) is a community platform for researchers to share their work, opinions, and ideas with other researchers from around the globe. NRV’s inaugural journal issue, Researchers in Exile, features contributors who “have all faced persecution for their work and have sought sanctuary at universities overseas where they continue, despite the many obstacles they have faced, to strive for a better world through their academic endeavors.” Including articles by IIE-SRF fellows from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Syria, the issue explores academic freedom in sites of oppression and the ordeals faced by scholars violently driven out of their native countries.

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IIE-SRF announces new partnership with Finnish government to provide scholars safe haven in Finland

The IIE Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF) has announced a new partnership with the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture’s Centre for International Mobility (CIMO) to provide safe places in Finland for threatened scholars from Iraq and Syria to continue their academic work. IIE and CIMO kicked off the partnership today by hosting a breakfast reception with CIMO and other Finnish representatives. At the event, a professor from Syria spoke about his experience coming from Syria with the support of a fellowship from IIE-SRF, which enabled him to be a visiting scholar at a U.S. university.

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Fleeing Syrian war, student violinist finds haven in Illinois

By Kathy Bergen

The Chicago Tribune shares the story of one Syrian student who escaped Syria and the war through scholarships and grants facilitated by the IIE Syria Consortium for Higher Education in Crisis. "Monmouth and DePaul caught her eye because they were part of an Institute of International Education consortium launched in 2012 to aid Syrian students. The Illinois Institute of Technology helped form the consortium, and Illinois State University belongs as well. ‘Chicago, especially, has been a safe-haven city for Syrian students and scholars,’ said Daniel Obst, an IIE administrator.”

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IIE-SRF partners with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to launch new initiative

IIE-SRF is honored to partner with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation on its launch of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative. With funding available beginning in summer 2016, the Initiative will allow up to 20 scientists and scholars who are under threat from political persecution and war to continue their research for two to three years at German universities and research institutions. IIE-SRF will provide partnering institutions with assistance in identifying and evaluating candidates, pre- and post-arrival advice, and transition support for scholars going off the fellowship. In addition, IIE-SRF will collaborate with the Humboldt Foundation and Scholars at Risk to organize events for German universities, with IIE-SRF in particular aiming to convey best practices in scholar rescue to German institutions.

The launch of the Phillip Schwartz Initiative comes at a critical time when scholars around the world need sanctuary from persecution and violence more than ever. Applications are now open. Visit the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation website to learn more.

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Deakin offers new start for Iraqi scholar

Deakin University profiles IIE-SRF Scholar Maysaa Al Mohammedawi of Iraq and the work she is doing on the medical potential of nanotechnology.

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